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A pack for better liftoff

Strap on this GoLite bag, with optimal gear storage design, for a chairlift dismount that rates a 10.

November 08, 2005|Scott Doggett | Times Staff Writer

SOME of us haul so much stuff up ski slopes we need backpacks, which all too often drape over the tops of chairlifts and pin us in -- flailing and mortified -- when we ought to be dismounting gracefully like the cool cats we are.

GoLite solves the spastic-dismount problem with its new Lift-Less pack. The pack is designed so that most of the gear stows in the top, which means you can lean back on the chairlift and the pack won't snag when you jump off. And a webbed hip belt keeps the bottom of the pack snug against the body, eliminating unwanted movement while skiing.

There are two zippered pockets on the belt, each large enough to hold a tube of sunscreen and a small camera. There's also a soft detachable pouch for an MP3 player or cellphone that can attach to a shoulder strap chest-high for ease of use.

The main compartment, which has a sturdy, water-tight zipper, is large enough to hold a ski jacket, sweater and, tucked into a separate sleeve, a 3-liter hydration reservoir. There's also an internal pocket for goggles.

The outside of the pack -- which consists of ripstop nylon, 420-denier Cordura panels and X-pac, a tough material that prevents sagging under heavy loads -- features a curved, zippered pocket for a snow shovel and seven straps to hold skis (for trips to and from the parking lot or during backcountry jaunts), ice axes and other items.

The Lift-Less is 22 inches tall -- the maximum acceptable length for carry-on luggage -- and has a handle for easy carry when you don't want to wear it.

There's lots to like about this pack, and my criticisms are mostly quibbles. I'd have preferred double stitching to single, and a lifetime unconditional warranty to one that states, "Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge to the user."

As the name implies, GoLite's a weight-watcher. This pack weighs in at just 1 pound, 8 ounces in medium size and a tad more in large (the pack isn't offered in small).

The Lift-Less is available in blue/black, yellow/black and red/black.

At $90, the pack isn't cheap. But it is very well designed and constructed, and it fills a need for anyone who likes skiing with a pack but dreads chairlift hang-ups. For more information, call (888) 546-5483 or go to

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